Happy Tuesday to everyone!
It seems like a good time for a recap since there seems to be some confusion on the status of the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
On December 12, 2022, Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced their plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of horses from the park!
THAT has NOT changed! These horses still are NOT safe!
The park had a public comment period, as required by NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) that closed on January 31, 2023. They are currently performing an environmental assessment and have stated that they will be back in the spring with the results of that assessment.
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has led the charge from the beginning to fight for these horses from every angle possible!
That started in December with our North Dakota state legislators. As they were getting ready for the 2023 session, we personally spoke with them about putting together a resolution asking the park to keep the horses. Through our persistence with all of you who answered our “Calls to Action” – Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR 4014 was born! It passed the ND Senate last month UNIANIMOUSLY and should be voted on in the ND House this week.
The resolution states: “A concurrent resolution urging the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the National Park Service to modify its proposed livestock management plan, to recognize the benefits of livestock grazing, and to continue to allow for interpretative, cultural, and historical purposes a herd of longhorn steers in the North Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the presence of a wild horse herd in the South Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.”
THAT is ALL this is and ALL that can be done on a state level. Our state officials are asking Theodore Roosevelt National Park to keep the horses (and longhorn cattle). They are asking for help from the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service Director along with our federally elected officials: Senator Cramer, Senator, Hoeven and Congressman Armstrong.
While all the state can do is ask that the park keep the horses, the attention from the North Dakota legislators has helped the horses get the support of ND Governor Doug Burgum – who has offered the state’s resources in whatever ways are possible to help keep the horses.
THAT still does NOT mean they get to stay. The park falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government and the Department of the Interior. Governor Burgum is STILL a state elected official.
Once the North Dakota House votes on (and passes) SCR 4014, the North Dakota Secretary of State will send copies of the resolution to everyone named in the resolution:
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Secretary of State forward copies of this resolution to the United States Secretary of the Interior, the Director of the National Park Service, and each member of the North Dakota Congressional Delegation.”
Senator Kevin Cramer and Senator John Hoeven have already spoken out in favor of keeping the horses IN Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
THAT STILL DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE SAFE!
Congressman Kelly Armstrong came out in December in support of the park. He has NOT changed his stance – yet!
With all of the support the horses have received since December 12, 2022, we DO still need Congressman Armstrong’s support.
WHEN the park comes back with the results of their Environmental Assessment (EA), we will know what other alternatives they chose to consider as part of their EA, IF they found that they need to move to an Environmental Impact Statement (THEY SHOULD but have stated they feel an EA is sufficient) or if they give us their decision.
If it is where they have stated it will go and they inform us of their decision, they will say that they analyzed the different proposals, which ones those were, the results of their findings and what their final decision is. THEN it will be open for public comment.
EVEN IF they say the horses can stay in some capacity, history shows us that they do this every 10-20 years. I spoke with the president of the Medora Foundation a few weeks ago and he said this is like the 2nd or 3rd time they have threatened to take ALL of the horses from the park in the 35 years that he has been in North Dakota.
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates is NOT ONLY advocating for a management plan that allows a genetically viable herd of horses to STAY in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we are asking for a FEDERAL PUBLIC LAW to protect these horses.
The Wild Horse and Burro Act does NOT apply to wild horses in national parks. We are asking that they be protected, similar to the way the Shackleford Banks wild horses are protected at Cape Lookout National Seashore (another national park).
We have spoked with members of the Natural Resources Committee and have support BUT they are afraid that without Congressman Armstrong, any attempts at protecting these horses will NOT have the support of the US House.
THAT is why all of your phone calls, letters and emails are sooo important!
THAT is why SCR 4014 is sooo important!
THAT is why the support from the elected officials and organizations we have now is sooo important!
THAT is why Congressman Armstrong is sooo important!
THAT is why keeping the pressure on is sooo important!
THAT is why we feel posting blogs and talking about these horses every day is sooo important!
THAT is why we continue to ask for your help and support!
We still have A LOT of work to do!
We will be in Washington DC next month and will be talking to as many of our federal legislators as possible.
We also communicate with Congressman Armstrong’s office every week. We are hoping that after the ND House passes SCR 4014, he will see what the people of North Dakota want and issue a statement in support of the horses staying in the park.
THIS is why your email to him are so important! Have you sent yours yet? We made it easy for you! https://secure.everyaction.com/Rg-lK-HiAkSz6nxuYsiKmw2
This week we will also be sending all of your comments in with our weekly email once we hear the ND House status of SCR 4014. If we don’t have your comment, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope this helps clear things up. As always, feel free to comment directly on this post or email us or send a private message.
Thank you for your support and have a great day!
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates is committed to advocating for a wild horse management plan and protection for these unique wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home! We are fighting for a management plan that is guided by science especially when it comes to decisions regarding the removal of horses and the administration of birth control. Many other wild horse management plans have proven to be successful with their science-based plans. We are asking for the same for this amazing group of wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.